Getting “Used” Chickens for Free

      34 Comments on Getting “Used” Chickens for Free

How to Get Used Chickens for Free - The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

Free Chickens

Are you interested in getting some free chickens? ‘Used’, or ‘pre-owned’ chickens, might not be as hard to find as you might think! I have taken in free chickens a number of times and I’ll share ideas for places that you might find free chickens in this post.

A friend of ours gave us his old laying hens to make room for new hens. He doesn’t like to butcher them for stewing, preferring to raise broilers once a year for the freezer. These hens are are around 18 months old and are in various stages of molt, so they haven’t been laying many eggs. He wanted to get some point of lay pullets to get back into production quickly. His impatience turned into my gain. Update: I’ve gotten free chickens from him several times, and I’ve found free chickens and free chicks from other sources over the years.Β 

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There are two Americaunas that lay green eggs and I wanted more of those. I was down to 2 Easter Eggers (a cross between an Americauna and anything else). There are also some White Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons, and a Barred Rock.Β  I’ve had them for a little over a month and have been getting a few extra eggs, including some minty green ones.

I have a couple bags of meat producer feed left from raising broilers. Now that the broilers are residing comfortably in my freezer, I’m using the higher protein feed to help all of my hens grow their new feathers back without an added expense. My older hens started molting late this fall too. I give them all a small scoop of the meat feed along with their layer ration each day. So what the heck. I’ve got 12 more chickens in the flock, which brings my total up to about 62. When I see hens that are not in good laying condition, they will go in the stew pot to reduce the number of hungry beaks to feed. I don’t enjoy killing my chickens, but I’m not running a retirement home for old hens here. They will be fine for stewing. For the most tender results, cook the carcasses down, pick the meat off the bones, and then pressure can it with the broth. This makes chicken soup a snap when you’re in a hurry and need some comfort food…or homemade cold medicine.

Β Where Can You Find Free Used Chickens?

Used chickens can be a good option for a newbie who want eggs quickly, or for someone who isn’t getting as many eggs as wanted. Be aware that moving to a new home stresses the hens and they will stop laying for a few weeks. Expect around 3 or 4 weeks before they get back in the swing of things. Be sure they have light for around 14 hours a day during the winter. Feed a quality layer ration with oyster shell on the side. Don’t introduce your new hens to an existing flock without going through a quarantine period. The cost of your pre-owned hens will range from free to a few dollars. It will depend on your area and situation. Sometimes good deals can be had by looking on Craigslist. Watch for signs of disease. If they have watery eyes and noses, or they are sneezing, having trouble breathing, or difficulty flapping their wings or walking, don’t bring them home! They could carry diseases and you should sanitize your shoes before wearing them in your chicken coop or yard. If you’ve already got them home before you discover they’re sick, I recommend butchering, unless they are so sick you are afraid to eat them. Keeping them around will only cause you regrets later on.

Tip: Post an ‘In Search Of’ Ad on Craigslist letting people know that you are interested in their old laying hens or extra roosters. A lot of people don’t want to butcher their chickens and you may be able to take them home for free.

Update: All of these hens have been butchered and made into chicken soup now. They were given to me about 15 months ago and some continued to lay fairly well for another 6-8 months after coming to our homestead. The last of them went into a molt and stopped laying eggs in December. I butchered the last two in early January. Not bad for free chickens!

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34 comments on “Getting “Used” Chickens for Free

  1. tirtzah50

    Hi Lisa:

    You also have the patience of a saint, in my opinion…lol. Well, I had a question on your blog story today regarding some of the things to watch out for in any “used” chickens we may find on our own, either Craigslist or possibly a neighbor, etc. Two of those things you said to watch out for were: “flapping their wings and walking”?

    Could you expound on those two behaviors a little bit please for me? I mean, all chickens, “walk around” and at times occasionally “get their feathers ruffled over something and begin to “flap their wings”. So what exactly would I look out for, to know that this means this chicken is “sickly” with something, if it is “normal” and “healthy” behavior from chickens also to “walk” and “flap their wings”?

    PS>>>Oh, BTW, this time the posts by “Anonymous” wasn’t me!….LOL I finally am all set to go, with my name appearing each time now, YEAH! Thanks for everyone’s patience. What I did was to follow Lisa’s suggestion and UN-subscribe. Then, I turned right around and “Signed up” a second time. We discovered that for whatever reason, there was a “glitch” when I first signed up and the computer program didn’t automatically “send out” to me that “Confirmation” email you always get whenever you subscribe to something, which comes to your email inbox and basically says: “You just signed up for such and such, please “Confirm” by clicking on this link here”. However, when I UN-subscribed and signed up that second time… it then triggered it to send out that “Confirmation” email to me. Once I clicked on it to “Confirm” it then began posting my “Name-Tirtzah” instead of posting as “Anonymous”. The funny thing though about this was not only did I get the “Confirmation” email that SECOND time I subscribed. But it like “woke itself up” and sent me our my “Confirmation” email ALSO for that FIRST TIME I had “Subscribed”!…….LOL


    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Tirtzah,
      I guess that wasn’t very clear…sorry! I meant to watch for chickens that are having trouble walking or flapping their wings. If it seems as though they have trouble standing, walking, or flapping their wings, they most likely have Mareck’s disease which can infect your flock. However, most chicken flocks that are free ranging are likely to pick up Mareck’s from wild birds anyway. Sneezing is also bad…it means they have chronic respiratory disease.

      If you go to look at some chickens and there is any reason that you suspect something might be wrong with them, it’s better to walk away without the free chickens rather than infect your flock.

      Best wishes!

        1. Lisa Lynn Post author

          I suggest posting on Craigslist or Freecycle in your area, letting people know that you will take unwanted chickens. You could also put a sign out in your yard. Best wishes.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      There seems to be some confusion about this post…I don’t have any free chickens. I found free chickens on Craigslist….you might be able to also. Check the Craigslist listings for your area to see if there are any chickens for free.

      Best wishes.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Anthony,
      This is an old post and was intended to give you some ideas for getting chickens for free…check Craisglist in your area to see if anyone is giving their old hens away. Best wishes!

  2. Kay

    Thanks so much for sharing this, I know my hens have just stopped laying, but they are molting now, and I have some new one just getting started, and their shell are so soft they break when they pop out. Thanks again so much, Have a Blessed day. Kay

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Kay,
      Try giving your chickens ground oyster shells for calcium to make the egg shells stronger. Sometimes you have to mix it in with their food to get them to eat it. Best wishes!

  3. joannoleary

    I have had both good and bad experiences with “used” chickens. Unfortunantly before I knew enough about raising chickens I introduced used chickens with a breathing problem. I have been able to weed out most of the problem over the last few years but I still have a few sneezers. I have also been gifed with some beautiful birds that have been wonderful additions to our flock. My only advice is be careful before you introduce them to your girls.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Very true, Joann! I’ve had 2 diseases introduced to my flock this way. I knew the ‘used’ chickens I received most recently and knew they were healthy…healthier than my birds actually.

  4. Susan Godfrey

    We’ve gotten several small farm animals like this! Just popping by to let you know that you are one of the featured posts over at Get Real Frugal Friday! I hope you’ll back come by my blog hop today and join us again!

  5. Rebecca

    Used chickens- whatever next! I love your assertion ” I’m not running a retirement home for old hens here.” I bet your chicken stocks are delicious!

  6. Kathy @ Mind Body and Sole

    Great ideas! One of my neighbors said you could get free chickens from the Humane Society too. I guess in some towns backyard chickens are legal, but in others they aren’t so when people buy them and find out they can’t keep them they’ll take them to the Humane Society.

    Thanks for sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday! πŸ™‚

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Kathy,
      That’s good to know! Thanks for the info πŸ™‚ I wonder if there is a chicken rescue network? That would be an awesome job πŸ™‚

    2. Ammalinda

      We got a great little hen from Animal Services and got her a boyfriend from a neighbor and they live happily in our garden truck

      1. Lisa Lynn Post author

        Hi Ammalinda,
        That’s great! Around here none of the animal rescues or county services take in chickens, because they are livestock. I’m glad you gave them a home. πŸ™‚


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